CAROLINE Maclean’s hopes of a Paralympic medal may be over, but the lure of a best-ever finish at the Games will keep her gunning for victories.
The 37-year-old two-time St Edmundsbury Sports Personality of the Year played a huge part in a thrilling quarter-final encounter between Paralympics GB and Germany on Tuesday evening.
Sadly for Maclean and her team-mates, Britain were eventually beaten 55-44 by the reigning silver medallists to bow out of the medal race. But the 37-year-old, of Camps Road, Haverhill, wants to improve on her three previous eighth-place finishes from the Paralympics.
“We gave it a good fight, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” said Maclean, who plays for Sudbury-based Eastern Blue Stars. “We tried to stop the people we knew who could score lots of points, but their number eight kept running away with it. “The noise in the arena was incredible and I just wish we could have won for the crowd.
“It was nice to know there were a lot of people watching at home as well because of the time it was on.”
The North Greenwich Arena — formerly the Millennium Dome — has not been a happy hunting ground for GB in the tournament, with their only victory coming in their single match at the Olympic Park’s Basketball Arena against Brazil.
That success — in which Maclean scored a vital final-quarter basket — guided the home nation into the last eight, but defeats to the Netherlands, Australia and Canada at North Greenwich left them with a tough tie against the unbeaten Germans.
Despite the lead changing 11 times in the match – six of those during the fourth quarter – a 17-3 run in the last five-and-a-half minutes of the final period took Britain from three points up to 11 points down at the final hooter.
“If we hadn’t put up a good fight, it would have been a lot harder to take,” said Maclean, who will now battle for seventh place after defeat to China in their fifth-to-eighth semi-final yesterday.
GB will face Mexico today, expected to be at 10.45am at the North Greenwich Arena.
Maclean has also hinted again that her future may lie away from the sport after the Games, but continued to insist she would make no firm decision until the Paralympics have been completed.
“There are some great players in this team and they are asking me if I would stay, but they don’t need me, they are a great team anyway,” she said. “In four years they are going to be amazing and eventually they will get a Paralympic medal, but unfortunately I won’t.”